If you have any kind of online presence, you have to get used to rudeness. Online, people behave in a way they wouldn’t dream of in real life. But for anyone who works in the adult business, especially cam girls and dommes, it’s pretty much a daily occurrence. This is why I rarely switch on free cams, and indeed stopped camming on one site where free chat is obligatory. Clients are far less likely to insult you if they’re paying for the privilege – indeed, since I’m a domme, it’s usually them paying ME to abuse them – and if they do want to pay to be rude to me, I’ll just smile and ignore them as I take their money. But the problem usually occurs in free cams, where it’s all too common to have insults flung at you like whore/slut/bitch, if you don’t immediately accede to their demands, point out they’re asking for something you don’t cater for, or tell them they’re doing something unacceptable. It can even happen when you’re being perfectly polite and friendly. Some guys seem to seek people out for the sole purpose of being rude to them. And their insults are invariably illogical. How can you be a whore when you’re doing a cam show? Why seek out cam girls if they’re so offended by the work of these so-called sluts (who never fuck their clients)? Dommes are aware that what we do is sex work, but we have no sexual contact with clients either. Calling us whores is a cheap insult, and one that we hear all too often. I rather think they’ve redefined the words ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ to mean ‘woman I know I’d never stand a chance with’, or ‘she’s not interested in me, boo hoo’.
Such rudeness can also come completely out of the blue on social media, when someone you’ve never interacted with before tweets aggressively at you or leaves a thoroughly unpleasant comment on Facebook. Of course this isn’t solely directed at people in sex work. But it does seem to be an all too common experience for people in the adult business. Why is this? One reason is that it’s the internet – people are rude because they can be. They’ll behave in a way that they’d never dream of doing in real life. They’d never be that rude to someone’s face, either because they don’t have the nerve or it just wouldn’t seem right. But when they’re hiding behind the anonymity of a keyboard, it’s easy.
Then again, some people are just assholes, who can now spout their bile on the internet instead of being the drunk in a bar that everyone ignores. It’s pretty obvious in some cases that they’re deliberately trying to rile you and get a reaction, in which case the appropriate response is either to ignore them, block them if it’s on social media, or kick them out of your room if you’re on cam. Some guys actually get off on being rude, and enjoy knowing that they’ve upset a girl. You could even say that it’s their fetish. Like any troll, they seek a reaction, and getting a response is what they enjoy. Ignoring them completely undermines them.
I suspect that a lot of unpleasantness directed at women who work in the adult industry is down to the old ‘Madonna/whore’ complex. It’s misogynistic to the core, but women are still defined as one thing or the other. There are no shades of grey (although what’s wrong with consensual sex work anyway? If a woman wants to be a whore, that’s her choice). These very vocal keyboard warriors are deliberately trolling sex workers to attack them with their infantile insults. They invariably use the same old tired invective of calling us sluts and whores, conveniently ignoring the fact that a moment ago they were asking to see our tits or pussy and calling us beautiful (a ‘gorgeous babe’ turns into an ‘ugly bitch’ faster than any Disney witch could manage to transform her, when she turns down a freebie-hunter’s demands for an unpaid preview on Skype). They’re shooting the messenger, even though they are the ones seeking us out.
If we work in the adult business, the warped logic concludes that we are therefore fair game for verbal abuse. In the same way that prostitutes ‘can’t be raped’ because they sell sex for a living, anyone else doing any kind of sex work has laid themselves open for abuse. We’re supposed to put up with it because, 1) they’re paying customers 2) we’re sluts pimping ourselves on cam, so what do we expect? The attitude is that we deserve any verbal abuse that comes our way, and have no right to complain. But remember girls – you are NOT obliged to put up with abuse just because you make a living out of sex work. I also think that in some cases it’s down to self-hate on the part of the trolls. They’re actually angry at themselves for using cam sites, or aren’t really comfortable with having sexual needs – or worried that their wife will find out they’re talking to cam girls. But hey, let’s blame the slut for leading me into temptation; deflecting the blame is only what religion has been doing for millennia.
They also forget that we are human, and that we have feelings too. It’s as if they see us as automatons just there to provide pleasure (admittedly, it’s not going to do much for a guy’s boner to hear how a cam girl’s day has really sucked and she needs to make cash to fix her car). This can be self-defeating though if they want something other than getting blocked or booted. If they don’t treat us with respect, they stand zero chance of getting any kind of positive reaction from us, whereas if they treat us with respect, they’ll get a friendly response. But they’re bemused when we kick them out, and have no idea why we did so. One domme I know is Mistress Cristal. I asked her about her experiences of online rudeness. She flatly refuses to tolerate it, and not just because she is a domme. She says, ‘they forget – we don’t HAVE to speak to them if we don’t want to!’ We are in control of our own room, and have the power to decide what we will and won’t tolerate (cam sites give you the option to kick or ban anyone causing a problem). As for social media, you’re not obliged to respond to anyone – and 140 characters really isn’t a suitable medium for having a debate (which most people don’t want, anyway. People prefer to be ‘right’).
A common problem for cam girls and dommes is the sense of entitlement that many guys have. My favorite phrase to these guys is ‘Nobody owes you an orgasm’ – not that they’d listen! They want free attention and get snotty when turned down. For many of them, the thought that the girls are doing this for a living just isn’t a turn on. They prefer to kid themselves that the internet really is full of hot and horny women just waiting to chat with them. The skill for a cam girl is to maintain this fantasy while encouraging them to pay for a private show. But we do encounter far too many guys who have absolutely no intention of paying for a show or tipping the girl. Some even cheerfully admit this. And if she calls them out for their freeloading attitude, they turn nasty. They really don’t like the idea of paying for a girl’s attention, even though this may be her full-time job. So what if she has to pay for her home, internet, webcam & outfits? She should still be doing this for the fun of entertaining horny guys! So when these guys are reminded that tips would be nice, or how about a private show, they take offense and become abusive.
One major problem for niche cam workers like a dominatrix is that guys come in who haven’t read our profiles. They click on your room simply because you’re online, and then get offended when we tell them we don’t do conventional shows and won’t be getting naked. My fellow domme Mistress Cristal has, like me, encountered this problem many times. ‘Guys are often rude because they’ve come online with expectations – misplaced ones at that. They quickly realise they haven’t done their research – and it’s rather like a defence mechanism. They know they’ve fucked up – so to cover their embarrassment, they deflect it with rudeness.’ I have seen this happen so often; rather than saying sorry for their mistake, they react with ‘You’re ugly anyway, who’d want to see you naked?’ (usually misspelling it as ‘your ugly’), or act like they’re doing you a favor by coming into your room, even though they don’t actually want to spend any money on you!
So how do you deal with online rudeness without letting it get to you? Mistress Cristal has a good answer: ‘I’ve learned over the years not to let it get to me. They are faceless names – can a faceless name really hurt? Only if you let it.’ Which is something that is very important to remember: we hold the power to decide how we react. Such rudeness really does reflect more badly on the person being rude, than the girl they’re addressing it to. It’s not personal, and we shouldn’t take it as such. She also cautions that it’s important not to let the fear of losing money cause you to put up with unacceptable attitudes. ‘The fact that they are paying us doesn’t mean we have to take their rudeness. I have sent back money in response to rudeness, and told them “your money and your attitude is not welcome.” – That’s the ultimate put-down for them ;-)’
I’ve learned through experience that there’s no point getting into a debate with anyone online. You aren’t going to turn it around and solicit an apology from them. Getting into a Twitter argument really is one of the greatest time-wasters one can engage in. The best answer is to ignore, block, and move on. As for cams, you should give a warning to any offenders that they will be kicked out if they persist, and ban if they really are offensive. Apologies generally don’t happen, nor can you teach anyone the error of their ways. So the most sensible approach is to ignore them, and block if they become truly intolerable. Ladies, the block button is your friend. And there’s nothing like the satisfaction of inserting your virtual boot firmly up their ass and kicking them the hell out of your room …